Snoring is an involuntary response of the body that is caused due to an obstruction in your upper respiratory tract comprising of your nose and throat. It is a common problem seen across ages and gender. While some experience light to mild snoring, there are others who sound fairly loud. When discussed among friends, it is never about self as one is often not even aware of his or her own snoring. It is generally about how your sleep gets disturbed due snoring from your partner.
While snoring is constantly made fun of, it is not something that should not be taken lightly. It is important to find the root cause of the problem as in some cases, the cause could be life-threatening, while in others it could lead to dangerous health conditions impacting even the time when you do not snore.
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring is essentially a sound caused by the vibration occuring inside your nasal passage. The cause of this vibration is generally a deposit of soft tissue that results in the improper flow of air during the inhalation and exhalation process. This puts pressure on the soft tissue. The intensity of the stress is directly proportional to the intensity of the vibration and hence the loudness of snoring.
There could be different factors that cause and impact snoring in different individuals. Some of the common causes that have been identified are:
This has a direct association with snoring. Excessive fat deposits affect breathing negatively as they put excessive pressure on the respiratory system.
Excessive weight is associated with a sedentary lifestyle, hormonal imbalance, overeating, and slow metabolism. This combined with snoring can be dangerous. Snoring could be a result of the deposition of accumulated fat in the throat. If you come across someone with a short and thick neck, the person is very likely to be a snorer, irrespective of gender, though the deposit of fat is more common in men. Women experience fat deposits in parts of the body that can lose fat with extra physical activity.
- Habitual Smoking and Drinking – This not only affects the general health but also impacts the snoring problem in an undesirable manner.
- Taking Sleeping Drugs – Sleeping pills can also cause and aggravate the problem of snoring.
Alcohol and dependence on sleeping pills result in snoring among individuals by slowing down the brain and making the body relaxed. This impacts sleep and makes the muscles inactive. The reduced activity impacts the flow of air during breathing and hence causes snoring. As for smoking, it causes irritation to the pharynx muscles and mucus. This results in an uncomfortable and disturbed sleep. Even passive smoking can result in snoring.
- Hormonal Imbalance
Snoring in women is seen less often. Though sleep apnea is more common in men, women could also be affected by it and must be aware that if not diagnosed correctly, it could have a serious result. Women are more impacted by hormonal changes as compared to men and these could lead to certain undesired effects on their organ systems. Any of these could result in snoring.
- Allergic Reactions
These can trigger the problem of snoring in people. Those who have allergies are more susceptible to snoring. The allergic reaction could be to any of the many allergens such as tobacco smoke, feathers (in pillows), dust, animal hair/fur, plants, perfumes or chemical smells. If you are allergic to these elements, you could end up with allergic rhinitis, which is characterised by sneezing, itching, and irritation among other symptoms while sleeping. All these disturb the sleep and lead to snoring.
- Discomfort during Sleep
Certain sleeping positions can trigger snoring, especially if you are not comfortable. This is generally associated with sleeping on the back.
- Irregular Organ Characteristics – Irregular organ characeristics such as the size of nostrils or a particular position of the tongue and other non-typical features could be responsible for snoring.
What Is the Impact of Snoring?
Snoring can have a strong impact on the lifestyle of the snorer and his/her family, particularly the partner. The sleeping patterns of both individuals are affected and this leads to a loss in quality of life.
Several medical conditions can also develop as side effects of snoring. These include high blood pressure, cardiovascular illnesses, insomnia, headaches, sleep apnea, and decreased sexual functionality. In some cases, it could even result in an untimely death.
The problem of snoring must not be ignored but caught and treated before it results in the severe consequences mentioned above. Snoring is an indication of some other problems that are far more worrisome than the sound of snoring.
- Sleep Apnea – This disorder is characterised by a gasping sound during sleep, which is caused by a sudden break and resumption of breathing during the night and memory loss and sleepiness during the day. If you have these symptoms, you must see a doctor at the earliest. Sleep apnea is also associated with hypertension, several heart problems, and may even lead to diabetes. Individuals affected with sleep apnea are at a high risk of stroke.
How to Get Rid of Snoring? Important Issues and Consequences of a Neglected Problem
- Make yourself comfortable by choosing a sleeping position that suits you. You can use side pillows as well to make you comfortable in a sideways position. If you are comfortable, the problem of snoring can be reduced to a great extent.
- Avoid bad habits such as smoking or consuming alcohol as much as possible. If you are not able to stop it completely, try to end their usage at least 4 hours before going to bed
- Women need to maintain their health and get regular check-ups done to avoid such a situation of snoring as a result of unbalanced hormones.
- Allergic reactions can be prevented by removing the source of allergy from the site.
- Medical advice may be required in severe cases and you must not hesitate to visit the doctor.
Snoring, if neglected, could become a big issue later on and may not be possible to reverse it. It could impact relationships and lead to a divorce or other disputes. To lead a normal life, address the issue of snoring as soon as possible.